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Albert Pujols busts out with 3 HRs, 6 RBIs to carry Cardinals to 16-7 win in Game 3
Wow, what a night for Albert Pujols! He hit three home runs, joining Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson as the only players to hit three in a World Series game.
Pujols also tied a World Series record with six RBIs in the game.
Ruth accomplished the feat in 1926 and 1928. Jackson did it in the clinching game of the 1977 World Series. Pujols and the Cardinals beat Texas 16-7 to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
So much for Pujols struggling in the World Series. The three-time MVP went 5 for 6 with three long homers and six RBIs in Game 3 on Saturday night.
Pujols was 0 for 6 with a key error in the first two games before busting out in Texas. He became the first player in World Series history to get a hit in four straight innings, connecting for leadoff singles in the fourth and fifth and then homers in the sixth and seventh.
His sixth-inning drive was a three-run shot, followed by a two-run homer in the seventh. He added a solo shot in the ninth.
Pujols, who can become a free agent after the Series, was criticized for not sticking around in the clubhouse after Game 2 to answer questions about his ninth-inning error at first base that aided Texas' winning rally.
But on Saturday, the slugger did plenty of talking with his bat.
St. Louis got a great effort out of the bullpen from Lance Lynn, who allowed one run in 2 1-3 innings to settle things down in a slugfest.
Oh, boy. What a rocket! Pujols just hit a mammoth, three-run homer to give the Cardinals an 11-6 cushion in the sixth.
The shot on a high, 96 mph fastball from Alexi Ogando appeared to hit the facing of the third deck in left field at Rangers Ballpark before dropping into the crowd. It was estimated at 423 feet, but that seems cautious.
It was Pujols' 16th career postseason homer. The three RBIs were his first of the Series.
Pujols took a good look at it and so did his teammates from the top step of the dugout.
Yadier Molina added a sacrifice fly to make it 12-6. St. Louis has batted around twice in the game.
Ogando finally figured out how to get Allen Craig out. The skinny right-hander threw several tough sliders to Craig before striking him out with a fastball in the sixth.
Both of Craig's clutch pinch-hits off Ogando during the first two games of the Series came on fastballs low and away.
The Rangers won't go away. They scored three in the fifth to cut it to 8-6 and had the bases loaded when Ian Kinsler popped out to shortstop against Lynn to end the inning.
Michael Young had an RBI double and Adrian Beltre a run-scoring single. Mike Napoli capped the rally with a sacrifice fly.
The fourth and fifth innings combined to take 1 hour, 22 minutes.
The Cardinals caught a huge break on a blown call that led to a four-run inning.
With a runner on first base in the fourth, Matt Holliday hit a grounder to shortstop that should have been an easy double play. Second baseman Ian Kinsler, however, threw high to first and pulled Napoli off the bag.
Napoli jumped to make the catch and clearly tagged Holliday on the neck before he stepped on first. But umpire Ron Kulpa called Holliday safe. Napoli and Rangers manager Ron Washington protested, to no avail.
Kulpa appeared to tell Napoli that he saw the tag, but thought Holliday beat the play. Replays clearly showed Holliday should have been called out.
Instead of two outs and nobody on, the Cardinals had a runner on and one out. Lance Berkman singled and David Freese hit an RBI double, extending his postseason hitting streak to 13 games.
After an intentional walk to Yadier Molina, Jon Jay hit a slow bouncer to first and Napoli tried to go home with it. When he threw the ball away, two runs scored.
Ryan Theriot added an RBI single to make it 5-0. Before the inning was over, Matt Harrison was relieved by Scott Feldman.
Harrison was really let down by his defense.
Kinsler has been shaky at second. He made an error earlier in the game, his second of the Series.
Kulpa, by the way, also missed a call in the opener when he ruled that Beltre caught Pujols' smash to third on a fly even though the ball clearly bounced. It didn't matter much because Beltre threw to first anyway.
Kulpa also got an important call correct, signaling safe when Kinsler stole second on a bang-bang play in the ninth inning of Game 2.
The Rangers responded immediately in the bottom of the fourth with a leadoff homer by Michael Young and a two-run shot by Nelson Cruz, his seventh homer of the postseason.
Both went to right field ' the Texas hitters appeared to start looking to go the other way against Kyle Lohse, sitting back to drive outside pitches.
Lohse was pulled after Napoli's single in favor of Fernando Salas.
Texas had a chance for more, but Holliday threw out Napoli at the plate for an inning-ending double play on Kinsler's fly to medium left, toward the line.
With Lohse gone, will this be the latest big effort by the St. Louis bullpen in the postseason?
Feldman loaded the bases with nobody out in the fifth on Pujols' single and two walks. Freese had an RBI groundout and Molina hit a two-run double to make it 8-3.
A graphic on Fox showed that the Cardinals have never blown a five-run lead in the postseason.
Lohse's stuff never seems all that impressive, at least on television. The Cardinals starter had a very solid season though, going 14-8 with a 3.39 ERA.
Lohse is throwing strikes early in this one, flashing an effective changeup and keeping the ball down. Texas put two runners on in the second, but Lohse got out of it.
That left the Rangers 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position during the Series.
First double play of the night ' and it's no surprise. Harrison had a penchant for inducing DPs this season and the Cardinals hit into an NL-record 169 of them.
Moments after Theriot reached on an error by Kinsler, Harrison got Rafael Furcal to ground into a double play that was started by Kinsler.
Good sound on Fox broadcast picks up Kinsler telling the first base umpire that he thinks Lohse balked on a move to first.
Lohse is nearly impossible to run on. Only three players tried to steal against him this season. Nyjer Morgan and Rickie Weeks were thrown out by catcher Yadier Molina. The lone player to make it was Eric Fryer ' a rookie catcher for Pittsburgh. Fryer swiped second with backup Gerald Laird catching.
You can understand Kinsler's point. Lohse appears to break his front knee first, moving it slightly toward the plate before whirling and throwing to first on his pickoff move. Probably borderline at best. No wonder he's so tough to run on.
Cardinals lead 1-0 after three innings.
Dirk Nowitzki from the stretch for the ceremonial first pitch. He's all arms and legs, even in that No. 41 Texas Rangers jersey.
Pitch appeared low, dug out by Michael Young.
We're under way in Game 3 ' with a bang.
Craig, the second batter of the night, homered to left field off Harrison to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead. What a World Series already for Craig, who is really making a national name for himself.
He came through as a pinch-hitter twice in St. Louis, putting the Cardinals ahead with a clutch single in each game. Craig got the start in right field tonight, with Lance Berkman serving as the DH in the American League ballpark.
It didn't take long for Craig to show off his power. He is really a good-looking hitter, and now 3 for 3 with three RBIs in the Series.
The Cardinals have scored first in 10 consecutive postseason games, one short of the big league record set by Detroit from 1972-84.
Lohse struck out his first two batters in a 1-2-3 first inning.
Maybe the bats will break loose in Texas.
After a couple of low-scoring games, the World Series shifts to Rangers Ballpark tonight for Game 3. Temperatures are expected in the 70s, much warmer than the first two games in St. Louis. But there's a possibility of an isolated shower or thunderstorm.
Just about everyone anticipated a few slugfests in this Series. Most of the big sluggers, however, were held in check during the first two games: Pujols (0 for 6), Josh Hamilton (0 for 7), Holliday (1 for 6), Cruz (1 for 6).
With the designated hitter in effect under AL rules, each manager made a change to his lineup. Theriot is starting at second base for St. Louis instead of Nick Punto. Berkman is the DH, as expected, with Craig in right field. Craig is batting second, with Jay dropped to eighth.
Yorvit Torrealba is behind the plate for the Rangers, batting ninth. Napoli moves to first base and Young is the DH. Hamilton is in center field and David Murphy in left.